Archive of films My Dear Republic / Meine liebe Republik

2007, 80 min

Section: Documentary Films - Competition
Year: 2007

This turbulent story of Friedrich Zawrel who, in a prominent forensic psychiatrist, recognises Austrian Nazi physician Heinrich Gross, co-responsible for the deaths of hundreds of children, demonstrates how onerously and reluctantly Austria tries to come to terms with its gloomy past.


The story of Austrian Friedrich Zawrel begins in Vienna in 1941 when, at the age of twelve, this “problem child” was shut away in the notorious Splegelgrund pediatric neurological clinic. Here during the Second World War, the Nazis tortured to death over 800 children. Zawrel managed to survive, but his four years under the supervision of pitiless doctors took their toll on his mental health. For minor thefts he ended up spending a total of 20 years in various prisons. When he was tried for the last time in 1974, he recognised, in a prominent forensic psychiatrist, Austrian Nazi physician Heinrich Gross from Splegelgrund. His letters to the then Justice Minister received no response, and it was only with the help of journalists that he was able to point a finger at Gross’s past. But even then, government officials did nothing. The turbulent story of charismatic Friedrich Zawrel demonstrates how onerously and reluctantly Austria tries to come to terms with its gloomy past.

About the director

Elisabeth Scharang (b. 1969, Bruck an der Mur, Austria) worked from 1987 as a journalist and ORF radio presenter, and also as a director of TV reports and documentaries. She has been a free-lance filmmaker in Vienna since 1997. In 2006 her documentary Mein Mörder won the Best TV Movie Award at the Zoom Igualada TV Movies Festival, and the Fipa d’Or Grand Prix at the FIPA Festival International de Programmes Audiovisuels Biarritz. During last year’s Berlin IFF, the Panorama section screened her documentary Tintenfischalarm, which was also shown at this year’s One World festival. The Karlovy Vary festival screened her documentary Normal Times (Normale Zeiten) in 2001. Select filmography: Die Tage der Kommune (1997), Schweigen und Erinnern (1998), Global Faces (2002).


Austrian Film Commission
Stiftgasse 6, 1070, Vienna
Tel: +43 152 633 23
Fax: +43 152 668 01
E-mail: [email protected]

WEGA-Filmproduktions GmbH
Hägelingasse 13, A - 1140, Vienna
Tel: +43 1 982 5742
Fax: +43 1 982 5833
E-mail: [email protected]

About the film

Color, 35 mm
International premiere

Section: Documentary Films - Competition
Director: Elisabeth Scharang
Screenplay: Elisabeth Scharang
Dir. of Photography: Elisabeth Scharang, William Franck
Music: Markus Moser
Editor: Alarich Lenz
Producer: Veit Heiduschka
Production: WEGA-Filmproduktions GmbH
Cast: Friedrich Zawrel, Florian Klenk
Contact: Austrian Film Commission, WEGA-Filmproduktions GmbH


Elisabeth Scharang

Film Director, Film Director

Anne Laurent - Delage

Film Institution Rep.

Friedrich Zawrel


Peter Thomsen


Martin Schweighofer

Film Institution Rep.


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